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Kristi Toliver Rumors

How did the job under Kidd with the Mavericks come about? Kristi Tollver: So, after the first year with the Wizards, the next offseason I was rehabbing my knee in Phoenix. I knew I wanted to get back into it. I didn’t like a season away [in the 2020 WNBA bubble] and that was also when COVID was at its peak. I wanted to go into coaching basketball, so I started to do some interviews with a handful of teams. And then, when I got on the phone with Jason, [Mavericks assistant general manager] Michael Finley and [Mavericks president] Nico [Harrison], everything happened really, really fast.
Have you had any instances where somebody sent you a message that was really meaningful to you about you coaching in the NBA? Kristi Tollver: No doubt about it. I get that a lot. But one I would say that I remember very clearly was my first year with the Wizards when [then-]Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger came up to me. He said that he has a young daughter. And he came up to me and was like, ‘My daughter has seen me coaching forever. But I just wanted you to know that it is really, really cool that there is someone special that my daughter can see that looks like you on the sidelines.’ When I hear chirps like that, it keeps me mindful of what I am doing. I just love what I’m doing and what it represents. So, it’s not just about me and my experience, but it’s about the bigger picture.
How are you taking the Griner situation? Kristi Tollver: Heavy heart. That’s my buddy. We played together on that team in Russia for four years. So, I’m very familiar with the area. Scary, scary situation. I feel hopeful that she will be released soon as we all are. But I just hope that she’s OK, just mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever. She’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever been around. She’s a big kid. She has a great heart. It’s very unfortunate that she’s in that situation. Very scary situation. When she comes back, she’s going to be ready to be around the team and be ready to play. She’s going to need that. Whatever support she is going to need, we’re going to do it. That’s the homey right there.
Storyline: Brittney Griner Arrest
All that sounds great. Obviously, you also have this mantle now as being the only active WNBA player who’s also an NBA assistant, and I was wondering what, if anything, that means to you, being able to wear both hats at once as you’re progressing early into your coaching career while you’re still playing? Kristi Toliver: I’m super lucky to have this opportunity. For the Wizards to give me that opportunity, first. It just goes to how women’s basketball players are, I think, and we were used to wearing multiple hats. We play year-round, in the W and overseas. We stay busy and we stay on the grind. So for me, this is nothing different. It’s a different grind. And I love it. I love being in the NBA. I obviously love the fact that I’m still playing and playing well. It’s obviously a very unique situation and experience in the first (place), but certainly, I hope that it won’t be the last, and then other players that want to coach on this level will have that opportunity and maybe they’ll still be playing at the same time.